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The Entrepreneurial Exchange

Toughing It Out

Evening Exchange

Running a business is rarely a smooth journey and most owners will hit tough times at some point.  But how do you ride out the storm and make the most of the good times.

After leading the rapid growth and change of his first company Academy Computers, former Exchange board member Gordon Barraclough was introduced to an opportunity of a “temporary” position in the Midlands with a family owned bespoke industrial switchgear manufacturing business that was in financial difficulty.  In September 2001 the company’s turnover was circa £8.5 million with trading losses of £1.5 million and had been placed in the specialist lending services division of the bank.  To prevent the company going into administration the family had injected circa £800,000 by way of a loan into the business. The company was trading at maximum overdraft, there was circa £180,000 of rent arrears and a final pay pensions deficit of £2,000,000.  Gordon will outline the steps he took to restore the fortunes of this company and of its ultimate sale to an Indian competitor in 2008.

Brian Williamson is a serial entrepreneur with a range of experience in high growth business situations as well as the harsh realities of what needs to be done when things are not working.  He launched his first company in 1995 in the automotive sector and within three years had reached a £5m turnover. Soon after he sold his interest to his fellow shareholders and started his own Oil and Gas company. This award-winning business was acknowledged for its rapid growth and for its exceptional export achievements. In 2004 Brian sold the enterprise to the management team and during this period he became an active investor in a number of start up ventures.  In the last few years Brian has successfully restructured another business from one with a mediocre performance to one heralded within its industry as a top performer and will share his thoughts on what it takes to tough it out. .

The evening will be chaired by Exchange Chief Executive John Anderson.


Venue information

Dakota Hotel Shawfoot Road
Eurocentral Business Park
Near Glasgow

0870 2208281


John Anderson, The Entrepreneurial Exchange


  • Gordon Barraclough, Taradin LLP
  • www.taradin.co.uk
  • Brian Williamson, Tiger eye
  • www.tiger-eye.org

Show venue on a map or Read the biographies.


"Like so many of these events it causes you to reflect on your business. There was also a good contrast in the presentations".

"Too many nuggets to list here, however to summarise the value to me has to be having the opportunity to listen to other entrepreneurs who have been through what every business goes through and can offer their experiences to you. You cant buy this value!!".

"I always apply the principle that everyday is a school day! It is always useful to listen to peoples experiences".

"Extremely useful to hear the experiences and views of other entrepreneurs".

"The value for me was Brian's story".

"Frank honest sharing of experiences - warts and all!!! That allows me to feel I'm not alone!".

"It was reasuring to know that others had experienced simalar problems and survived".

"Interesting experiences shared and a number of good pieces of advice received".

"Thank you so much. That was informative and really funny. A problem shared is a problem doubled hahahaha. Seriously though it was good to know that people go through rough times even when there are not Global recessions and I dont know if its just because the sun is shining but today looks brighter already".

"It was a subject close to our business dealings over the last 3/4 years and I was interested in the speakers stories of how they had got through tough times".

"Always interested in others peoples views and experiences. Both speakers conveyed the difficulties they had faced previously".

"Key tip, if you can do not give PGs. Good management information is essential!".

"Ask for help as soon as you can!".

"Question loyalty - look at the risks in the business".

"Keep close to your customers, plan as much as is possible & listen to what you're being told".

"Key tips for me are keep the head! Handle the cards of business that you are dealt with. Use expert advice - always".

"Keep your Bank informed and on side".

"Key tips for me were: only worry about these things that are within your own control. Need real tenacity. Do not bet the ranch".

"John was an excellent chair for the night, completely engaged with the audience and speakers".

"John was very good - as normal".

"John always talks sense".

"The Exchange is fortunate to have John as their Chief Executive".

"John as usual was very professional and added some of his own anicdotes as well as providing a succinct summary of the key points of the evening".

"John is a great guy and tells it as it is which is great".

"Both were excellent speakers, different approach although similar experiences, well delivered and great examples of Entrepreneurialship. What can I say, other than I have great respect for both speakers".

"Brian is a good quality speaker".

Excellent presenation, Informative and amusing. He is definitely getting no where near my ranch!".

"I loved the honesty of Brian and really opened my eyes to the whole journey he had taken".

"Brian is a quality speaker".

"Brian - when's the book due out?".

"Brian was a highly amusing and very interesting speaker who shared some great stories and tips to help deal with problems that most people in business are confronted with today".

"Brian gave an excellent presentation that was both informative and entertaining".

"Brian can relax about the Global recession getting his business because he has a great future as a stand up comedian. Great speech and good tips as well".

"Brian had a good sense of humour throughout and I enjoyed his speech thoroughly".

"Brian is first class".

"Brian was interesting and entertaining".

"Fab food once again!!".

"Thanks to all once again!".

"Great to catch up again and chat about the more sensitive issues in business without being judged. A time to reflect outwith the day to day running of the business".

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